We all have our couch potato moments. Winter means hibernation, right? Well don't make chilling out on the couch your long term hobby because doing so could put a decade on your life.
In a recent study researchers measured telomeres, the DNA that bookends our chromosomes, of 2041 identical twins. Telomeres act as a kind of chromosomal clock, since they shorten each time a cell divides. Shorter telomeres indicate an older biological age, as opposed to actual age. Kind of like the inverse of tree rings – the more rings the older the tree; the shorter your telomeres the older you seem biologically.
In the twin telomere study, researchers found that folks getting on average 16 minutes exercise were about 10 years biologically older (having 200 base pairs of shorter telomeres) than the most active participants who exercised for three hours a week. So far, no research has proven that shorter telomeres means shorter life expectancy, but they do lead to more age related disease, like Alzheimer's. Bottom line: turn off the telly and go walk the doggie.
If you are spending time on the couch, you can always try this invigorating, yet relaxing back stretch on your couch.